Many studies show that bringing people out of poverty cannot be done through charitable efforts alone. It requires empowering disenfranchised groups to become self-reliant. Women, in particular, face a range of societal ills that puts them at a distinct disadvantage. For example, alcoholism, low literacy rates, limited employment opportunities, predatory lending and the resulting "debt trap" restrict women from having an expendable income, let alone start small businesses of their own.
This project will provide small grants or loans (free or low interest) to women pursuing small businesses of their own. The awarding of loans and grants will be based on established small businesses or clearly outlined new ideas. Prime Trust already has a fair trade store in Puducherry that sells products that are made by women from our self-help groups. These women have voiced their need for additional funding to expand their businesses.
This project empowers women to become self-reliant and self-sustaining. It gives them the financial independence that they rightfully deserve. Additionally, there are added opportunities for employment opened. They are also able to meet other small business owners through our Akshaya store meetings. This ability to form networks with other women gives them access to support systems and safety nets that they otherwise would not have within their own families.